09-01-16 The Tunnel

Can we go in the tunnel??? My kids plead for at least the 15th time.

The tunnel they are referring to is a large pipe that runs under the road in our neighborhood and empties into a small, fenced in pond.

Absolutely not!  I reply as I spread peanut butter and jelly onto the waiting bread.


We spent a good amount of time playing outside this evening, coming in a few minutes after what should have been bed time. Instead of heading straight upstairs, I cobbled together a piecemeal dinner of PBJs, hotdogs, waffles, pancakes, and slices of salami. Certainly not healthy, but quick.

But Lizzy (name changed) went in the tunnel. We want to go in too. She said it was fun!

Lizzy did go in the drain pipe, along with several other kids in the neighborhood, and she proudly recounted her story (covered head to toe in cobwebs) within earshot of my children, and naturally they wanted to join in.


What if we have a flashlight?!?

Not even then. 

What if Daddy takes us there?

He never would.

What if we know it will be dry inside. 


You never let us go in tunnels!!! 

It’s not that I never let them go in tunnels, I just never let them go into large drainage pipes, which all things being considered, I think is pretty reasonable.


I’m not Lizzy’s mom. Every family has their own rules and in our family we do not go into drain pipes. 

I don’t bother to mention that on a dare in high school, I crawled through such a drain pipe, 12 inches deep in water, cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and Lord only knows what lurking in the muddy water. I was a teenager and it was incredibly stupid, but now I am grown up and standing here staring at my children as they are wrestling with our family boundaries and the allure of peer pressure. Before tonight they didn’t even know there was a pipe there, let alone that it was accessible.

Thankfully our children are confined to our little quad in front of our house and always under adult supervision, but one day they will be old enough to go exploring on their own, and no doubt they will be tempted to do stupid things like crawl through drain pipes or wander under bridges, or whatever it is they find to get into.


I didn’t expect peer pressure to work its way into our family so soon. I thought these battles were better suited for older children, but apparently I was wrong. Thankfully we have been able to nip them in the bud. Because of their ages, the problems are naturally simplistic and easily dissuaded, but as the kids grow I know one day it will be harder for them and for us.

But for now, I’m glad I get to take on pretty cut and dry cases like whether or not my kids can crawl through drain pipes.


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